Bob Iger’s Contract Extends to 2026–His Insights on the Company Moving Forward

Bob Iger’s Contract Extends to 2026–His Insights on the Company Moving Forward

In the last 24 hours a number of insights have surfaced. It began with an announcement that the Disney board has voted in favor of Bob Iger’s contract being extended as CEO through 2026. CNBC’s David Faber asked some real questions on what’s working and what’s not. This includes selling cable networks such as ABC; putting ESPN into streaming mode; and buying Hulu from Comcast. He then defends the attendance slump at Walt Disney World, which was the headline on CNN today. Finally, Iger discusses the impact that Governor DeSantis is having on the company and why Disney has filed a lawsuit around 1st amendment rights in court. Join us as we detail these many announcements and insights happening around the Walt Disney Company.

Below is an overview of topics and issues:

Iger Extends His Contract

  • Originally his contract was a two year opportunity to right the helm and find a successor.
  • Iger liked retirement–it was a good 11 months–but this decision will result in extending it until 2026.
  • There are a number of challenges–some self-inflicted–some a result of changing conditions. The two year window was putting undue pressure.
  • This buys time to find a successor, especially one from within the Walt Disney Company.
  • Disney has gotten a lot done, like cost restructures, changes in organizational structure and in leadership. But there are a lot of challenges. The market has to cooperate.

Media Issues

  • Iger said Disney is going to be “expansive” in its thinking about the traditional TV business, leaving the door open to a possible sale of the networks. “They may not be core to Disney,” Iger said, adding the creativity that has come from those networks has been key for Disney.
  • Cable subscriptions are the lowest they have been since 1992.
  • This has included such channels as local stations, FX, National Geo, and ABC.
  • This has made folks at ABC unsettled. Kim Godwin, head of the network re-assured employees regarding Iger’s extended contract and emphasized focusing on the work and their customers.
  •  Pixar and its assets are number 1 in the global box office.
  • Three Pixar assets in a row went toward streaming which sent an expectation to audiences. There were also creative misses. Turnover may have had some impact.
  • “In our zeal to grow our content mostly for our streaming content” we’ve extended the ability of our teams to deliver–Marvel was an example.
  • Organization needs to pull back on Star Wars and Marvel offerings that have spread out too thin.
  • Disney+ is a growth business and will continue to be so.
  • The Company is Seeking Actively to Acquire Hulu from Comcast.
  • ESPN “stands tall” with almost a guarantee of individuals watching–They are bullish on ESPN and will eventually move to a streaming model.
  • Iger is Also Open to a Strategic Partner with ESPN–if they come to the table with value.
  • Response to the Writer and Actor Boycott: “They are not being Realistic to Current Conditions.”
  • The company is 100 years. There were peaks and valleys in Walt’s life. It was true for Michael Eisner’s experience. We’re not necessarily in a peak, but not in a valley as well.

CNN Article on Walt Disney World Attendance Slump

  • Parks and Resorts–Investments over the years like Shanghai Disney has paid off.
  • Not Because of the Governor–Though the attacks on Disney are ‘preposterous and inaccurate.
  • 4th of July has been a key point–but it was that way before Covid at Disneyland.
  • Florida Opened Early for Covid–Much more Competition Now.
  • Tracking Hotel Tax Revenue–Counties are Down–Competitors are Discounting.
  • This is a Short Term Issue, Not a Long Term Issue–Pricing is Not an Issue.
  • Disney World “where the Disney brand lives in its most sublime form”.
  • My own experience is that numbers are down at Disney as I predicted a few months ago.
  • Neo-Nazi demonstration: “It was horrifying, quite frankly, and it’s concerning to me that anyone would encourage a level of intolerance or even hate that frankly could even become dangerous action.”

Governor DeSantis

  • Governor Aligns Disney with Sexualized Content for Children
  • Iger’s response is that it’s preposterous and inaccurate
  • The company was within its right–though maybe not handled well–to give its opinion.
  • The lawsuit seeks to address their first amendment rights
  • The company does not want to draw itself into any culture wars
  • Nazis standing in front of the park were horrifying.
  • Not Interested in Being in a Culture War

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